MidFielder ~ Reuben Foster ~ Alabama Crimson Tide ~ 6003/230
Old Roles are getting dramatically transformed, and virtually every Front 7 ~ or Front 6!! ~ Defensive Job Description is transitioning into an Hybrid Role where the Defender is asked to excel in multiple Roles and in multiple Fronts.
For that reason, and in order to offer NomenClature that speaks not to archaic, obsolete "Positions", but rather to Skill Sets that accurately reflect the dynamic Changes of the 21st Century Game and the Roles they have spawned, I have undertaken to craft Terminology that is designed to break Skill Sets down as they really are.
Defensive Coordinators have, since Time Immemorial, employed highly creative terminology in devising Defenses and in designating Assignments. In that Spirit, I have admittedly indulged myself considerably in devising the following NomenClature. It is undeniably colorful, but I like to think that there's an underlying Logic, as well:
MidFielders ~ This is in fact my collective term for all of what you Earthlings refer to as "LineBackers", a term that I consider moderately insulting to the Players in question. The reason I'm employing a collective term ~ at least for now ~ is that I believe that the Skill Sets for any of the 3 or 4 Jobs indicated therein are remarkably similar, though their Duties are certainly considerably divergent. The Prototype for any MidFielder would be about 6000/240 or thereabouts.
I don't consider Dragons that play what you Earthlings refer to as "OutSide LineBacker" in a 34 Defense to be MidFielders.
Dragons have a particular Skill Set and natural strengths which are divergent to those of MidFielders.
MidFielders, whether in a 434, a 335, a 425, a 245, or whatever you come up with, are natural Super Hybrids who can quite conceivably Rush the Passer, Drop into Coverage, and, above all, Defend against the Run.
When evaluating MidFielders, this is how I break things down:
Power: Above all: Core Power. Torso Power is important, but Core Power, from the Knees to the Ribs, is absolutely crucial. All the upper body Strength in the world will still fail if you simply can't dig in your Heels. But Core Power enables an Offensive Lineman to project Power in the Running Game and to reject Power in the Passing Game.
Agility: Launch Velocity, Acceleration, and above all: Fluidity or Core Agility. Core Agility is even more essential to sustained good Health ~ and to sustained good FootBall ~ than Core Power. The ability to react with Serpentine smoothness is a tremendous Asset in all Aspects of the Game, and certainly in the Hand to Hand Combat that characterizes Trench Warfare. All the Power in the World goes only so far if you're lurching around like FrankenStein.
Frame: Vertical Leverage, Hands, Arm Length, and WingSpan.
Combat Skills: Horizontal Leverage, Paw Positioning, Paw Persistence, and FootWork. Above all: Pass Rush Repertoire.
Processing Speed: How quickly and effectively one Reads & Reacts to the Rapidly Roiling Tactical LandScape!!
Motor: Intensity and Stamina: How much Work has been put into Conditioning, and how it manifests itself.
Run Defense: All the Above, applied.
Pass Coverage: Ditto.
Pass Rush: Double Dirty Dog Ditto.
Broken down into SubCategories, it'd go something like this:
* Core Power ~ lower body Power. Core Power trumps Torso Power. Tyrannosaurus Rex had exceptional Core Power.
* Torso Power ~ upper Body Power. Important, but not crucial. T Rex had lousy Torso Power...yet was King.
* Anchoring Strength against the Run.
* Drive Power, Rushing the Passer.
* Fluidity, above all things: Core Agility & Flexibility makes everything possible.
* Launch Velocity ~ Speed into Contact off the Snap.
* Acceleration ~ Short Speed or Quickness.
* Vertical Leverage. Height is crucial, but it's actually better, I believe, to be an Inch shorter than an Inch Taller.
* Hands. The larger the better, generally, but compact is never a bad Attribute in The Trenches.
* Arm Length. Absolutely crucial. He who boasts the longer Arms initiates Combat.
* WingSpan. Arm Length + Torso Width. A more complete Measurement.
* Lateral Leverage. Angles. Getting Square or better with the Target.
* Paw Positioning ~ It's all about Angles & Leverage.
* Paw Persistence ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* FootWork ~ RPMs: Activity & Persistence.
* Pass Rush Repertoire: Variety.
* Reading & Reacting to Offensive Blocking Schemes with Speed & Precision.
* Field Vision: Finding Targets & approaching them effectively.
Power: Excellent Drive Power on the Attack or In Pursuit, and excellent Anchoring Strength at The Point of Attack.
Agility: Phenomenal. Outstanding Launch Velocity, extraordinary Fluidity, and magnificent Acceleration and Closing Speed.
Frame: Sufficient. He's at the very low end of Weight for MidFielder, but that's perfectly fine in this Hybrid World.
Combat Skills: Competitive. Awesome Paw Persistence, but mediocre Lateral Leverage, Paw Positioning, and FootWork.
Processing Speed: Mediocre. He Reads & Reacts with inconsistent Speed & Precision.
Motor: Excellent. Extraordinary Intensity. Exceptional Motor.
Run Defense: Excellent and with phenomenal Potential. Tremendous Power at The Point of Attack and sensational Range In Pursuit. If he can continue to develop his Combat Skills and Processing Speed, he'll be amazing.
Pass Coverage: Excellent, with extraordinary Potential. Fantastic Fluidity and Speed. Needs to improve his Field Vision.
Pass Rush: Impressive, with tremendous Potential. He's got a decent Frame, and a tremendous combination of Power, Fluidity, and Closing Speed. If he develops his Pass Rushing Repertoire, his Potential here is enormous.
But I've got a Funny Feeling about Foster.
There's no question that his combination of Power and Agility is Top 10 Quality, but I've got a few concerns about'm.
First off, I wonder about his Processing Speed on the Field of Battle. I've read that he struggles with Diagrams in the Class Room but is terrific at analyzing Game Tape. Fair enough: Different kinds of Learning. Me, I'm Aces at the Diagramming stuff, but often have to watch Tape over and over again. But in watching his, where it matters most, I perceive some inconsistency in his Read & React Speed & Precision, and that could be a big Problem at the next level.
His Combat Skills, too, are not very well developed...And of course the combination of those two things are to me troubling Indicators of his (FootBall) Intelligence and Drive. I would not in a Thousand Years presume to proclaim that I therefore know for a fact that he lacks either Attribute...But neither can I declare with any Certainty that he does.
All I can say is that he is extraordinarily talented...But that, despite Years on a Nick Saban Team, he hasn't developed all too much as a FootBall Player...And that, Ladies and Laddies, is a big fat Red Flag in my Book.
Furthermore, there is that Business at The Combine, where he is reported to've precipitated the Incident by basically trying to cut in line, to get right down to it, and to do so by declaring "Do you know who I am?" Now, that is all hearsay, but if it wasn't true, it stands to reason that Foster would've challenged it. And taking that, therefore, as Reliable Testimony, it's hard to describe Foster's Attitude in a kindly light. And this unexpected insight into what certainly appears to be genuine Arrogance is very supportive of the Idea that Foster may pay less attention to his Craft than he ought to.
There is also his Health to think of. Foster is a very tough kid, and hasn't missed a Game, the last two Years, since he won a staring Position. But he has previously missed a lot of Time, and he's been beset by a myriad of Injuries over the last several Years, due in part to his lowering his Head far too often when he explodes into one'f'is spectacular Hits.
All that takes a Toll, and his Career has been remarkably brutal.
Last of all my Concerns: His BackGround. He's come a long way, to be certain, and I hope he continues on that Path and becomes the best Version of himself. But as recently as last April, he was at a NightClub when 3 People, including a Friend of his, were shot and killed. One has to wonder about his Choices about who he hangs with.
There's Trouble, here: Choices he makes, his Injury History, his Combat Skills and Field Vision, and my Doubt about how intensely and how consistently he applies himself to mastering his Craft are all Red Flags for me.
Top 10 Talent? Absolutely.
But Buyer Beware.
Grateful Thanks, as always, for the crucial Work done by the folks at Draft BreakDown!!
None of this is even remotely a Complaint, mind you, but rather a Warning!! Caveat Emptor!